Whether you are single, in a relationship, a parent to a child or a four-legged companion, spending time alone touts several benefits, and can be incorporated into your fitness journey as you strive to get off the couch and get active. Perhaps you had a sedentary winter season, or maybe you just want to get moving. Whatever your reason for getting active, there is nothing wrong with going solo.
Alone Time Improves Mental Health
With the advent of technology and social media, we are never technically alone. We can reach out to friends and family with the click of a mouse. However, sometimes it is beneficial to disconnect from the world, and spend time alone with yourself. Solitude gives your brain a chance to rest, unwind, replenish, and reboot. When you remove all distractions, you can clear and focus your mind, and improve your concentration, which will be beneficial when you are tackling work, chores, and other daily activities. Spending time alone can also help you think deeply and work through problems more effectively. Your daily responsibilities and that ever-growing to-do list can make it seem like there is no end in sight, and when you are distracted by incoming information from other people and electronics, it can be impossible to think of effective solutions to your problems.
Finding time to both spend alone and engage in physical activity may sound easier said than done, but there are several ways to incorporate a little bit of alone time and movement into your day. Get up early and a jog around the neighborhood. Use your scheduled breaks productively. For example, if you typically eat lunch at your desk, try eating lunch outside and using the remaining time to fit in a brisk walk to clear your mind and prepare yourself for the rest of the day. If you are still struggling to get in that alone time, schedule solitude by literally marking it on your calendar. It could be something as simple as a 15-minute stretch, a walk around the mall parking lot, or a short bike ride.
Get Moving On Your Own
Just like distractions are detrimental to the benefits that can be reaped by spending time alone, it applies to getting active as well. When you work out with others, it is easy to get caught up talking or catching up on the latest news, distracting you from the task at hand, which is to work up a sweat. You may also find that by working out with others, you are distracted by the intensity at which others are going. It is important that you work at your own pace, and pushing yourself too hard, too fast could result in injury. Each person has their own unique fitness goals, so if you are finding it difficult to focus solely on yours alone, working out alone could be beneficial.
Going solo also means that you get to call the shots and be flexible with your workouts rather than being at the mercy of the busy life of someone else. If you want to fit in a quick boxing session late at night or go for a run before the sun comes up, you don’t have to worry about coinciding with others schedules. Getting active can help reduce stress and clear your mind, and sometimes it is easier to fit in quick bursts of activity when it is most convenient for you.
Getting active doesn’t have to mean sticking to the generic gym routine. Any form of movement is activity. Consider learning a new sport, community service, participating in an obstacle course race, learning a new dance, or walking to places you would typically drive. If being completely alone in your workouts feels too boring for you, bring your pooch along, or if you don’t have a dog, start up a dog walking service--it’s a great way to workout while making a few bucks at the same time!
You can also track your success and stay motivated by incorporating technology like a pedometer to track your steps and set goals each week, or follow along with an exercise video or a fitness video game. Find what you enjoy and turn it into a mental and physical health benefit.